Although healthy children still visit the doctor’s office for things like well-checks, physicals, or vaccines, many parents are concerned that bringing their children in will expose them to sickness. During the winter months and flu season, this concern might become more prominent. For parents with very young children and newborns, the risks are even greater.
While we can’t always keep sickness away from our kids, we nevertheless can take some precautions that make getting sick less likely. Germs, viruses, and bacteria lurk almost everywhere (and many times in places we don’t think about). Since we can’t always see these potential causes of disease, we can’t make getting sick impossible. We can nevertheless, though, still work to guard our kids and us as best we can.
Your child needs to go to the pediatrician’s office. For young kids who need wellness checks and vaccines on a regular schedule, you don’t want to skip visits to the doctor. Still, sick children also go to the pediatrician’s office. This seems like a recipe for disaster. Is there anything that can be done to help limit the chances of getting sick for the kids who are healthy?
How can you keep healthy kids from getting sick at the pediatrician’s office with so many sick children and germs around? In this article, we want to cover some best practices to keep healthy kids well and away from the bad germs. Read on to discover ways that the pediatrician’s office, and you as the parent, can help.
Steps the Clinic Takes to Keep Healthy Kids From Getting Sick at the Pediatrician’s Office
To begin with, you need to understand that a pediatrician understands the need to protect healthy children from getting sick as much as any parent does. The job of a pediatrician is to improve the health of the children in their care. Under no circumstances would a pediatrician put a child’s health at risk. Along those lines then, a pediatrician’s office should take the following steps to help keep healthy children well in their office. Let’s look at three of those best practices.
#1 Schedule Healthy Kids Earlier
The first way clinics help to keep healthy kids from getting sick at the pediatrician’s office involves scheduling healthy kids early in the day. Pediatricians know that they will most likely see sick children during their day, most likely later than earlier. Additionally, as a day progresses, more and more last minute appointments will be made to get sick kids into the office.
In light of this, the doctor’s office tries to schedule all the preplanned appointments for healthy kids as early as possible. This way they can fill up most of their morning appointment with vaccinations or wellness checks well in advance and save afternoons for sudden appointments. In a way, this acts as a convenient way of separation. With planning to have healthy kids mainly in the morning, they have less of a likelihood of encountering any germs or viruses because sicker kids won’t come until later in the day.
With this scheduling in mind, you as a parent should try to open your schedule for morning appointments for your healthy child. If you need a vaccination for a newborn, work with your pediatrician to schedule something first thing in the morning. You can get in and out as soon as the office opens and not have to worry about waiting with possibly sick children.
#2 Provide a Mask to Kids with Flu Symptoms or a Cough
Secondly, clinics can help keep healthy kids from getting sick at the pediatrician’s office by giving masks to kids who are coughing. Bacteria and germs spread through the air many times when someone coughs. Again, since we can’t see the germs, though, we can’t always know when coughing spreads them.
As a precaution then, it just makes sense to guard ourselves as much as possible by blocking or filtering coughs. An individual can help with this by covering their mouth when they sneeze or cough. A surgical mask, though, can also provide an added layer of protection.
The care providers at the pediatrician’s office will try all they can to help limit the spread of disease through coughing. After all, not only do they not want your kids to get sick, they don’t want to get sick themselves. While masks don’t provide 100% protection against the spread of disease, they can help, and any little bit helps when fighting disease.
#3 Separate Healthy and Sick Children in the Waiting Room
Finally, clinics can help keep healthy kids from getting sick at the pediatrician’s office through physically separating healthy and sick children in the waiting room. When it comes to the spread of illnesses, proximity matters. The closer you are in proximity to a sick person, your chances of getting sick yourself go up significantly. Fortunately, your pediatrician knows this reality very well, and their office will work with parents to separate sick kids from well ones. Again, like masks, this doesn’t give complete protection, but it can decrease your chances of catching anything.
Ultimately, this step can help provide the best guard against the spread of disease. Keeping sick kids away from healthy kids limits the chances for them to cough on one another or spread disease through touch. While other shared areas of the clinic might still present challenges, at least in the waiting room, where you could sit for some time waiting for the doctor, you should be able to stay physically away from sick kids.
Tips for Parents to Help Keep Healthy Kids From Getting Sick at the Pediatrician’s Office
While the pediatrician’s office can do some things to protect the health of your child, you as the parent can do several things to help as well. The best way to look at this is to think of you and your pediatrician as teammates working together to help improve the health of your child. With this in mind, let’s now look at a few best practices for you as the parent.
#1 If You Have a Child in a Carrier Cover the Carrier with a Blanket
First, if you have a child in a carrier, you can help keep healthy kids from getting sick at the pediatrician’s office by covering the carrier. As we mentioned, many parents have a special concern for newborns or very young children. This concern is warranted because diseases can be especially dangerous for young children who don’t have the defenses of older kids.
With this in mind, if you need to take your newborn to get a vaccine or have a wellness check, consider keeping them in a covered carrier. The idea here follows along with covering one’s mouth to prevent the spread of disease. The carrier cover can act as an added barrier between your child and any airborne diseases. While you wait to see the doctor, keep the carrier covered at all times. Following this simple practice can provide essential added protection for keeping your child healthy.
#2 Bring Your own Toys to the Pediatrician’s Office to Keep your Kids Entertained
A second way parents can help keep healthy kids from getting sick at the pediatrician’s office is through bringing your own toys for your kids to play with. Kids want to get up, play with things, and explore. Every parent knows this. If you have a toddler, you know that they want to do anything but sit still.
With this in mind, having to sit and wait silently in a doctor’s office can seem like torture to your child. They simply won’t want to sit still next to you without something to entertain them. If they get up and start moving and trying to interact with other kids, this presents opportunities for them to interact with germs as well. To prevent your kids from going mobile, you need to bring with you something to distract them.
You should try to bring some small toys that your kids can play with to the pediatrician’s office. Be sure to clean these toys both before you go to the office and after you leave. Pick out toys that might keep your kids entertained for a while since you could be waiting for several minutes. With bringing your own toys, you can be sure that your kids stay away from things possibly touched by sick children, and you can help try to keep them sitting in their seats longer.
#3 Wash Both Yours and Your Child’s Hands When You Leave the Pediatrician’s Office
Finally, one of the best ways to help keep healthy kids from getting sick at the pediatrician’s office simply involves washing your hands. Hand washing provides one of the best ways to limit the spread of diseases. When thinking about how to limit the spread of disease and keep your kids well, you should always turn to hand washing first.
When it comes to trips to the pediatrician’s office, this means that you should probably wash hands right after you leave the waiting room to go see the doctor and then right after you leave the office altogether. If you don’t have immediate access to a sink and water, you could use hand sanitizer instead. While this might seem simple enough, you can set yourself up for the most success by taking simple precautions just like this. Always remember to wash your hands, and you have already scored a minor victory against disease.
Be Proactive to Help Keep Healthy Kids From Getting Sick at the Pediatrician’s Office
In the end, keeping our kids healthy takes effort from everyone. As parents, we need to always take notice of what our kids touch or put in their mouths. Additionally, we need to behave proactively when in high-risk situations. At daycares or schools or doctor’s offices, places with a lot of traffic and people, you need to take extra care to sanitize and clean hands and pay attention to what your child touches.
Parents can do some things to help prevent the spread of disease. Your pediatrician’s office, though, can also help with your efforts. We’ve outlined some simple steps in this post that every pediatrician’s office should put into effect. These strategies provide just the starting point for clinics to help keep healthy kids from getting sick at the pediatrician’s office.
As we’ve mentioned, your pediatrician wants to do everything he or she can to help keep your child healthy. Ultimately, it’s not only their job, though, but their passion as well. Work with your pediatrician to help do everything you can to keep your child healthy. Your pediatrician wants that, and they will always work with you to help make that process simpler or easier for everyone.